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Mar 29, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 29, 2024

Father Primo Mazzolari was one of the great public figures of mid-twentieth century Italy. His homily on Holy Thursday in 1958, a year before his death, which he titled “Our Brother Judas” is well-known. At the heart of the homily are the words of Jesus upon Judas’ arrival at the Garden of Gethsemane: “Friend, do what you have come for” (Matthew 26:50). “Friend” was what Jesus addressed him as at their last encounter. Even after his betrayal, Jesus expressed love, mercy, and even friendship towards this betrayer. This was an invitation to examine the inner life of Judas. We don’t know if even that tender word penetrated his heart. But we know one thing: Judas must have remembered that powerful and lovely word ‘friend’ at the moment when he hung himself on the tree. ‘O Judas, my friend…!’

Still, we are sure when Jesus prayed from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” he certainly did not exclude Judas from those he prayed for. It is true that Jesus had predicted about Judas, “none of them was lost except the son of destruction” (John 17: 12). Another terrifying statement about Judas: “It would be better for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21). But, as in many other instances, he had spoken from the perspective of time and not of eternity. The eternal destiny of a human being is an inviolable secret kept by God.

“We may betray Christ’s friendship, but Christ will never betray us, his friends; even when we don’t deserve it, even when we turn against him. Even when we deny him, in his eyes and in his heart, we are always friends of the Lord…. Poor Judas. Our poor brother. The greatest sin is not to sell Christ; it is to despair” (Primo Mazzolari).

We cannot pass a hasty judgment on him. The betrayal of Judas continues throughout history. Judas sold the Head, while his imitators continue to sell the Body, the members of the Body of Christ. Judas’ betrayal continues through the lives of each of us when we fail to confess our sins.


By: Father Roy Palatty CMI

Mar 28, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 28, 2024

There is a story told about a young Jewish boy named Mortakai who hated going to school. After several failed attempts, his parents took him to their Rabbi and explained the situation. The Rabbi said not a word. He simply picked up the boy and held him to his heart for a long time. Then, still without a word, he set him back down. What words couldn’t do, a silent embrace did. Mortakai not only eagerly went to school, he went on to become a great scholar and a Rabbi himself.

This story beautifully illustrates how the Eucharist works. In it, God physically embraces us. Words have a relative power. In critical situations they often fail us. When this happens, we have yet another love language. The most ancient and primal love language of all is the physical embrace. It can convey and demonstrate what words cannot.

Jesus, for most of his ministry, used words. Through words, he tried to bring us God’s consolation, persuasion, and strength. His words stirred hearts, healed people, and brought about conversions. Powerful though they were, they too became inadequate and something more was needed. So on the night before his death, having exhausted what he could do with words, Jesus went beyond. He gave us the Eucharist, his physical embrace (Luke 22:15). The Eucharist is like a kiss, it needs no explanation. It’s inner dynamics need no elaboration. The Eucharist is God’s kiss.


By: Father Roy Palatty CMI

Mar 27, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 27, 2024

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His Love endures forever.” (Psalm 107)

I give thanks to the Lord when the sun is shining brightly, bringing forth rays of new hope and expectancy. But I also give thanks to my God when my heart is being tossed about like a ship in the vast ocean in the midst of a terrible storm.

When fear threatens to overcome me, I run to His Presence. I throw myself down at His feet, knowing that I will find safety there. As the waves of doubt and fear threaten to overtake me, I stand firm because I am anchored in His love.

I weep before my King and He ever so gently wipes away each tear. He invites me to sit in His presence so He can love me just as I am. As I gaze upon my Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He embraces me with His tender love and mercy.

As I welcome His embrace, Jesus whispers softly: “My precious child you are my beloved and I love you just as you are. Allow me to fill your heart with my love and peace.”

My King and my God, You are all that I need. You are all that I want. You are worthy of all my praise. Your love endures forever.


By: Connie Beckman

Mar 26, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 26, 2024

What, besides love, motivated the Father to send the Son, to endure such a horrific ordeal? To send His Son on a mission so integral that the only solution was his passion and death. And what of the Son, Jesus? What unwavering trust and resolve to take each step that led to the cross?

One phrase that comes to my mind is: “Nothing else matters.”

It’s why He came.

The agonizing procession through the streets. Stones and insults hurled his way. Shouts and slanders. His sorrowful Mother.

Nothing else matters.

Stripped, and staked to the tree. Hung in humiliation. Precious Blood like droplets fell.

Father, forgive them. Because nothing else matters.

Mother, your son…Nothing else matters.

Father, into Your hands…Because nothing else matters.

I realized how many times I let everything else matter. What people thought. How I looked. What I had or didn’t. I am reminded that nothing else should matter. It’s all transitory—words, whispers, paper, and cloth. I let them get in the way and distract me, thinking they mattered.

We are everything that matters to Jesus. Upon His mind and with every agonizing step. Precious and priceless.

Outside of saving our souls, nothing else matters.

Heavenly Father, you gave us your only Son. In total surrender He said yes. Our salvation matters. Our presence in eternity matters. Give us the strength and courage to say no to temptation and sin. Because only Heaven matters.


By: Barbara Lishko

Mar 25, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 25, 2024

We can see the world is full of turmoil. Fear and suffering seem to be a part of everyday life and are often overwhelming. It is in these moments that we need only to look to Jesus and His Mother.

First and foremost, Mary was a woman of prayer. She prayed for the Messiah to come and God answered her prayer personally. When God the Son entered her womb, it was an act of pure humility. He didn’t stop our mess; instead, He entered it.

At the Nativity, Mary was able to gaze into the face of Jesus and adore Him. In this adoration, she truly knew Him. She knew God. Through prayer and adoration, the Blessed Virgin Mary was able to walk with her Son all the way to the Cross. Instead of running and hiding from suffering, she trusted the One she knew and entered fully into the suffering with Him.

He didn’t stop suffering. He loved us all the way through suffering. This is what brought glory. We too can learn to love through our own suffering. This Lent, love in the middle of the suffering and you will see God’s glory come down.


By: Susan Skinner

Mar 23, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 23, 2024

Anxiety is one big giant in this age dominated by the need to either conform to an invisible societal standard, or to outperform the perceived average. There is a dearth of spaces and people that teach us to be ordinarily human–bound to fail, make mistakes, and learn from them. The Blessed Mother though, is one school where I have found abundant lessons on this growth as a spiritual person.

Mary on the steps of the Jerusalem temple is an ordinary mother who is deeply anxious about her beloved Son. She frets about her loss, frantically searches for Him, and finally when He is found, she questions Him for the worry He put them through.

In stark contrast, Mary at the foot of the Cross doesn’t fret upon the misfortune that befell her Son, nor does she raise her eyes to the heavens and cry out ‘why.’ She accepts the disciple that her Son gave her, silently holds His lifeless body in her arms, and finally lays Him to rest. Then, with the scared men He left in His wake, she calmly prays, giving them a courage that the apostles couldn’t find within themselves.

Mary “treasured things in her heart,” (Luke 2:51) and learned from them that her trust in the Lord should exceed her anxieties. The triggers don’t disappear, we learn to entrust them to God and He gives us the wisdom and grace to overcome them.


By: Maria Teres Sebastian

Mar 22, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 22, 2024

A few days back, I told a friend about a prayer session that I truly felt could help her. I was excitedly sharing my experience, and before I could ask if she could try it, she interrupted me: “I have tried all these several times…nothing ever changes.” I was crestfallen. How could that be!? Unsure how to console her, I listed some gifted priests I knew could pray for her.

At the end of the day, I was still wondering why it wasn’t effective, but in retrospect, her dull and tired response resonated with questions I had been asked a million times—”Isn’t your child given any treatment? If you do this therapy, surely your little girl will get up and walk? Many children with disabilities have come back to normal life after the treatment there, and what happened to your little girl? Surely, we have heard people brought back to life after treatment there, but what happened to your girl? Haven’t you met this priest who prays, surely your child must be healed there?”

I felt ashamed that even after knowing how debilitating those questions can be, I was repeating the same cycle. Unanswered prayers and unhealed miracles can often bring many questions, but do we still believe and hope? It’s only a matter of a fraction of a second for God to intervene in our lives. I once heard evangelist Nick Vujicic, born without limbs yet living a limitless life, say: “I have a pair of shoes in my closet in case He gives me arms and legs.” Nick didn’t receive the miracle he asked for, but God made him a miracle for others. For there is nothing impossible with God, and believing in Him, we are able to walk by faith and not by sight. We are more than conquerors “through Christ Jesus who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).


By: Reshma Thomas

Mar 21, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 21, 2024

Lord, I thank You for this day. I know I need to be more grateful for all that You have given me, and the countless times You have carried me through difficult times.

I know You are always near me, even when I sometimes forget to pray and thank You. But deep in my heart, I know You love me. You love me even when I don’t like the way I look and the million other ways that I tear myself down. Lord, I will try a little harder each day to look at myself the way You see me. You see me as Your beautiful bride.

Even if the world turns totally against me, You are my Rock and my Salvation and I know You love me with an everlasting love. In the silence deep within my heart, I hear you whisper: “I love you with an everlasting love, you are mine”.

Help me Lord Jesus, to stop and listen to your voice every day.


By: Connie Beckman

Mar 20, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 20, 2024

When I lost my faith at age 12, I didn’t stop praying immediately. In fact, I wept at the loss of my best friend. A few months later, my mind hardly turned toward Jesus, and after a few years, I gave Him no thought at all. It was the path to perdition. I spent over 30 years mired in sin.

I didn’t appreciate the necessity of prayer until I read “12 Steps to Holiness” by Saint Alphonsus. He reminds us we are each given the one talent—prayer—by which we are able to ask for what we need to reach Heaven. We bury this talent at our own peril.

Nowadays, my thoughts turn heavenward throughout the day…Thanks be to God for giving me the grace to turn toward Him because I have gained everything!

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save souls.

My God, I love Thee.

Stay with me, Lord Jesus!


By: Vijaya Bodach

Mar 18, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 18, 2024

Dear Jesus, I need Your help today. Without it, I will stumble. I will turn away from You and give up, for this Lenten road is rough and narrow and full of thorns. Please hide me in the shelter of Your presence. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings, ‘til harm passes by. Strengthen me that—taking up weapons of prayer, sacrifice, and confession—I may battle effectively against the darkness that threatens to separate me from You.

Jesus, fill me with graces flowing from the wound in Your Most Sacred Heart, that I may draw closer to You this day, and love by my actions those whom You place in my path.


By: Margaret Ann Stimatz

Mar 17, 2024
Lenten reflections Mar 17, 2024

Life as a newbie mom of three kids of ages six, two, and a few months old is unsurprisingly a rollercoaster ride. And Covid times brought us to stay with our in-laws which added unexpected twists and turns. It was a time when I struggled to find quality time with the Lord. Sleepless nights, drained, and dead tired, I was somehow going through the motions. Reading a few Bible verses in the morning before I changed the baby’s diaper, praying the Rosary as I fed my oldest child with Special needs, and amidst all this being constantly judged for all the imperfections I was capable of.

Little had I realized how all this was affecting my heart. Resentment and bitterness was creeping in and one day I was caught unawares. I was in between feeding my child and somehow reciting the Rosary when I happened to hear a very prickly comment that even before those words had slashed on me, I felt a sharp stabbing pain on my chest.

Something dark had entered from the right and pierced me. And I felt it right in my heart. I still don’t remember the situation and what I heard but all I remember is this frightening sensation that totally shook me. Truly we are in a battle that is invisible to our outward senses—a battle for our soul that is precious and Beloved to God. Going through the unbreakable cycle of cares and worries we often forget what is really important. This Lent, let us look into our heart and be aware of where we are. Are we filled with love or hatred? With sweetness or bitterness? Your heart really matters because it all starts from there. The battle is real and we ought to take the shield of faith to quench every fiery dart that the evil one brings against us.


By: Reshma Thomas